Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 45

Required Courses:

Core Courses
HRPR 5001Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions0
HRPR 5999Research Experience in Health Professions (work on publishable paper for two terms)0
NMS 9621Neuromotor Science 1: Neural Factors3
NMS 9622Neuromotor Science: Instrumentation3
NMS 9623Neuromotor Science: Programming3
NMS 9624Neuromotor Science 2: Mechanics and Models3
NMS 9627Neuromotor Science 3: Cognition and Learning3
NMS 9653Grantsmanship3
Statistics and Research Design courses9
Teaching Practicum 10
Electives 212
Non-Didactic Courses
NMS 9994Doctoral Preliminary Exams1
NMS 9998Dissertation Proposal2
NMS 9999Dissertation Research3
Total Credit Hours45

Each student serves as a Teaching Assistant for one academic term during the degree program. If the student selects the Teaching in Higher Education Seminar as one of the required electives, s/he can then use the Teaching Practicum to complete the Teaching in Higher Education certificate ( offered by the Teaching and Learning Center.


Electives are chosen from existing 5000, 8000, or higher level courses to provide a cognate area based on the student’s interest in, for example, engineering, kinesiology, neuroscience, psychology, public health, rehabilitation science, or teaching in higher education. The Program Director and faculty advise on and approve the selection of electives.

PhD NMS students are initially advised by the Program Director during admission and in the first term if an academic advisor has not been identified. Within two terms of matriculation, students are assigned an academic advisor from the core program faculty — or an available Graduate Faculty member with expertise in the student's cognate area, as approved by the Program Director. Students develop an "Individualized Development Plan of Graduate Studies," which is reviewed with their advisor every term, and by the NMS Program Director and/or the Program Advisory Committee on an annual basis.

Culminating Events:
In addition to completing the required coursework, students are expected to complete an area paper, a preliminary written and oral examination, and a dissertation research proposal prepared in the form of a grant proposal. Students are also expected to write and submit an abstract for their research and present that research at a scientific or professional meeting. The dissertation must include a publishable article.

Area Paper:
Prior to the preliminary examination, students must write a paper of publishable quality in their chosen area. Students could enroll in an elective course, a laboratory rotation, or independent study to complete this paper. The paper can be a report of research completed with a faculty member, a systematic review of literature related to the projected area of dissertation work, or a representation of theoretical work. In each instance, the student is expected to be the lead or sole author. Students are encouraged to select and submit the paper for peer review to an appropriate journal, but the publishable quality of the paper will be determined by faculty members with sufficient background in the area to judge the quality of the work. Students who have published a peer-reviewed paper in a journal as lead author prior to entry into the doctoral program can request a waiver of this requirement.

Preliminary Examination (NMS 9994):
All students must pass a preliminary examination prior to defending their dissertation research proposal. This qualifying examination consists of assessment of both didactic knowledge and research skills in neuromotor science. The didactic knowledge portion of the exam consists of a written examination followed by an oral examination of core concepts taught within the core neuromotor science courses. The research skill portion of the exam consists of skills acquired in a research lab presented in a lab practicum format.

Dissertation Proposal and Defense (NMS 9998):
In conjunction with the academic advisor and with the approval of the Program Director, each student is expected to identify a Doctoral Advisory Committee. The committee shall be comprised of at least three members. Two of the members shall be from within the Departments of Physical Therapy or Kinesiology, and at least one shall be from outside the department. At least two of the three members must hold full Graduate Faculty status.

Students are required to prepare and submit a dissertation proposal and successfully defend it orally in front of their committee. As appropriate, they must obtain IRB approval for their proposed research and submit a copy of the dissertation proposal to the Graduate School. Students are expected to have developed and defended their dissertation proposal within one year of successfully completing their preliminary examination.

Any student who does not adhere to this timeline must petition the Program Advisory Committee for an exception to this requirement. Extensions are not guaranteed. If a student does not receive an extension, her/his case will be considered at the time of the Annual Review of Progress toward the degree. Failure to pass NMS 9998 within one year can result in dismissal from the program.

Dissertation Research (NMS 9999):
Students are required to complete and orally defend their dissertation research. Students must be enrolled continuously in NMS 9999 until their dissertation is successfully defended. The Graduate School requires at least 6 credit hours of dissertation coursework. Students must be enrolled in the term that they graduate.

The dissertation must be successfully defended in a public oral defense as determined by the student's Dissertation Examining Committee. This committee evaluates the student's ability to express verbally her/his research question, methodological approach, primary findings, and implications. The Dissertation Examining Committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation must confirm a time and date for the oral defense with their Dissertation Examining Committee at least 15 days before the desired defense date. After the student and department have arranged the time, date, and room for the defense, the student must provide the official announcement to the Graduate School at least two weeks before the defense.